tv The Situation Room CNN September 14, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
hello, everyone. itis the top of the hour, i'm don lemon. a look to avoid air strike in syria. the u.s. and russia announce a plan. it may hold off u.s. military intervention, a new battle started in washington. again, you are in the cnn news room. we are at the top of the hour. a lot of stories happening now.
we are going to get to it in a minute. we are going to talk about the flooding in colorado. the governor is on his way now to give a press conference. here is the interesting thing. as he is going to the press conference, he stops to help with a rescue. this coming from governor his official twitter account. picked up four stranded people, a dog and a cat during helicopter tour of flooded area. so, we are going to get to that in a moment. we are talking about northern colorado, denver, greeley, larimer county. the governor is going to talk about his rescue in the press conference happening in a moment. these are places where people are dead and people still missing. this is the only way you are likely to get anywhere there, on horseback. the rain started wednesday and did not stop. first, the roads covered with
water. the black top started to crumble. then bridges became impossible to cross. thousands of people, entire communities, suddenly were cut off from anyway to get out. today, the sun came out, but it's temporary reprieve. the forecast calls for more rain. this disaster, not just an inconvenience, there's a hugh monotoll. four people reported dead. people were swept from their cars and would be rescuers drowning trying to save them. this man almost certainly would have drown when his car flipped into a swollen river near boulder on thursday. thankfully rescue crews were right there and pulled him to safety.
the water was windshield high in denver. only a city fire engine had the gumption to muscle through this. george howell is live. as we wait on the governor, george, the weather is cleared up, but not for long. there's more in the forecast. how are people preparing for this? >> reporter: well, don, you know, certainly i'm no meteorologist but i have been checking on the forecast. it says 30% here in the longmont area. we have been watching this weather system coming this way. we felt a few rain drops. looks like it's clearing up in this area. maybe we will dodge more rain. that's great news. look how much water has fallen in this area. look here. that's a bike trail, a tunnel that goes through the bike trail. you can see an eight foot clearance.
we are talking what, maybe six feet of water. maybe we can hear how deep that is. you get a sense of how much water came through here. the challenge for these officials for the last 24 hours has been getting to the different communities. if you look here, this was somewhat of a stream and the stream has merged with the river. look at that. that's the problem. this water, keep in mind, don, it's got rocks in it, tree limbs in it, all kind of things that make it challenging to walk through the most shallow areas. you can't get through different places. the roads are just gone in many communities. if you get a good look at the flow, i mean, this is a good 24 hours after the storm. just a lot of water, still rushing down. i'm sure you can hear it through the microphone. that's the challenge, trying to get around what were streams, now rivers cutting off entire
communities. >> you mentioned the challenge of getting around and for rescuers to get to people. talk to me about the people still cut off by washed out roads and bridges. what's being done to help them, george? >> reporter: right. you know, in some cases, don, they were able to bring people to safety. the governor, as you mentioned, we just looked at his official twitter account. four people rescued. that's great news. that's what's happening for some. there are a lot of people stranded. in jamestown, we know of at least 200 people in that community who have to be rescued. if you can't get them out, the best you can do. we see the officials doing it, the national guard bringing food and water. the things that will help them get through. just wait until the water subsides. it's the best they can do. the hope, we know rain is in the forecast. the hope is we will dodge some of it and it won't be as significant as we saw in the
last 48 to 72 hours. >> all right. long mont, colorado. george howell is there standing by. stand by, we are waiting a press conference. by the governor. he is about to hold a briefing. the interesting thing, coming from the governor's official twitter account saying, picked up four stranded people, a dog and a cat during helicopter tour of flooded area. i know the governor is going to share his experience and talk about that as soon as he steps up to the microphones in colorado in moments. we'll carry it here on cnn. they are getting inundated. elsewhere across the west, floodwaters are rising and flash flood warnings in utah as a large weather system sits atop the state. this is albuquerque, new mexico today. part of the state got six months worth of rain in three days. emergency officials are hoping the worst is over.
they are getting down to the hard work of recovery now. meantime, the mountains, national park, the national park in texas, been closed right now after rushing floodwaters wiped out roads and trails there as well. we are keeping an eye on it for you. if you want to help out the people all over the west, especially in colorado, visit our impact your world page cnn.com/impact. we are going to get to syria now. days ago, we were reporting on the debate of what seemed like an imminent military strike on syria. today, the u.s. and russia announced an agreement to locate the chemical weapons stockpile in a matter of weeks and destroy the weapons by the middle of next year. cnns matthew chance has more from geneva. >> reporter: it was this appalling chemical attack on the outskirts of damascus last month
killing over 1,000 people that finally brought moscow and washington together. after three days of intense negotiations in geneva, there's full agreement, it seems on how to rid syria of chemical weapons. >> we reached the amount and type of chemical weapons by the assad regime. we are committed to the rapid assumption of control by the international community of those weapons. >> reporter: it is an incredibly ambitious timetable. syria must hand other a list of sites and stockpiles within a week. u.n. inspections completed by november, the same month chemical productions and facilities should be destroyed with the elimination of chemical weapons in syria by the middle of next year.
a threat of u.s. strikes on syria if they fail to do what they are told. washington retains the right to take military action. under the agreement with russia, noncompliance would have to be referred to the u.n. security council or any punishment has to be agreed. russia is casting it as a diplomatic coup and possibly opening the way for a broad political settlement. >> translator: the realization of this agreement will be meaning not only for the common goal but also to avoid the military that would be catastrophic for this region and for the international relations. >> reporter: in syria, an already catastrophic war continues to rage, making the complex work of ridding this country of its chemical arms,
even with an agreement more difficult. matthew chance, cnn, geneva. >> diplomats were all smiles in geneva. in washington, it's more complex. the president said it's an important concrete step toward the goal of moving chemical weapons to be destroyed. joe johns joins me now from washington with the complicated reaction there. the white house, are they going to frame it as a win/win? >> i think the white house the framing it as a good start, a move in the right direction. actually, the four paragraph statement put out used variations of the phrase important step. it's measured, but optimistic. in anticipation about the criticism about the lack of u.n. enforceability, they point out there's time to give it teeth.
the united states will continue working with russia, the uk, france, the u.n. and others to ensure it's verifiable and there are consequences should they not comply with the framework. >> not everybody likes this. >> no. predictably tough statement today from republican senator john mccain and lindsey graham. they said without a u.n. security resolution under chapter even of the u.n. charter that threatens the use of force by the assad regime it's meaningless. he will deceive the world using every trick in saddam hussein's playbook. it's going to be a common theme, don. >> joe, we talked about this. lawmakers didn't want to vote on a resolution. this was a tough decision for them. is this an out for them? >> no, it's a temporary out. i think you can call it that.
the fact of the matter is, at a later date, they might have to still vote. if the u.n. doesn't have some type of use of force, then the united states has to contemplate it. there's still a bit of criticism for the president from the left, they never wanted a forceful intervention anyway. there were a lot of conservative republicans with him not going far enough. it's all over the place. >> joe johns in washington. beautiful evening there in washington as well. >> spectacular. the past couple days, actually. >> really. good. not bad here, either. not bad. all right. always good to see you joe johns. forget we are on television sometimes. giving syria enough time to move chemical weapons out of the country. a guest believes they may be doing that. plus, who is the big winner in this deal? it may be israel. that discussion is next. plus, more of my conversation
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let's dig into the details and the impact on the deal in geneva. the agreement between the u.s. and russia to find and destroy chemical weapons. i'm joined with very astute analysts in washington. rim francona is an analyst. here in new york, senior fellow at stanford's hoover institution and christopher dickey, the mideast editor for news week and the daily beast. i'm looking at you christopher. you called this deal a diplomatic breakthrough and israel is the big winner here. we have not heard, i haven't, from a lot of people say thg is a diplomatic breakthrough. they are saying oh my gosh, the u.s. is eliminating power in the middle east. >> i don't get that. it reminds me of george w. bush, threatened war, said the
international community had to meet their responsibilities to disarm saddam. he shook things up. we had inspectors going into iraq and a lot of stuff happening. the difference then and now is george w. bush wanted to invade iraq and obama does not want to invade syria. there's that. the main thing is, even though it's been a mad scramble, you can't say they have looked organized in this whole effort. at the end of the day, they threatened force and they got what they said they were threatening force to achieve, which was to get chemical weapons taken out. >> you say they don't look organized. some say this has been a brilliant strategy on the part of the obama administration whether it was orchestrated or not, they are going to come out. >> i sort of hate sports metaphors but it's like a baseline player in tennis. they were waiting for the balls, rushing, falling back from the
net and things lobbed over their heads and finally, at the last minute, they score a surprise point. >> you are sitting there going, wait, i don't believe anything you say. >> look, the president didn't want this whole engagement in syria. he never prepared for it, he was not ready for it. he made the remarks about the red line and had to make good on his own threat. if you take a look at what happened now and what the issue is about, we reduced the whole syria conflict to the use of chemical weapons. they are not the issue. the issue is the brutality of the assad regime to the population. >> i understand that. many people will agree with you. hundreds of thousands of people have died before in recent months. but, chemical weapons are what got us to this particular situation where something appears, at least on the surface to be happening or done about the situation in syria.
>> i like the word appears. it's very deceptive here. access to syria is difficult. we are going to go and by november, we have a clear sense, supposedly by mid november of the chemical weapons syria has. by mid-2014, when bashar will have brutalized his country for several months, then we are going to disarm bashar. this is really kind of wishful thinking. we don't have that kind of acce access. we don't know syria that well. we can't just walk in and syria is going to reveal their secrets to us. >> i'm going to get to you. >> i think it's more dynamic than that. first of all, the agreement with the russians, it puts all this question of compliance under chapter 7 of the u.n. charter, which basically opens the door to military intervention with u.n. approval, something that didn't exist before. i think there's a lot that can
happen between now and six months from now, but not the use of more chemical weapons. >> colonel, listen, i know you are a polite man. you don't have to be so polite. they have immediate access, you can jump in anytime. let's talk about the access and the logistics. you can respond to whatever you want. i want to ask you about syria's chemical weapons can be located, destroyed by the middle east, by the -- excuse my, by the middle of next year. >> we'll be able to destroy what we know of and can find. the problem is finding them and getting an accurate count. we don't have a good handle on what the syrians have. they have been making it and moving it. they have used a little bit of it. but -- i think it's going to be very, very difficult to pin it down and get an accurate count from anybody. chris made an interesting point. the israeli's come out, the big
winners in this. that's only if we get all the chemicals, which i don't think we are going to get. there are different kinds of chemical weapons, the strategic ones and the tactical ones. if i was bashar al assad, i would have moved all the strategic stuff by now and be somewhere we are never going to find it. i find it inconceivable he's going to give up his deterrence like he has with the israelis. we have lots more to talk about. what i want to ask and answer after this -- after we go on to this break is, you know, we keep talking about the outcome, we are talking about the outcome, how we got to the outcome. you brought up this point, it's what the administration wanted. they say you did this, this and this. in the interim, if you get from point a to point b, does it matter the roads you take here and are we looking at this in
the proper perspective? don't answer that yet. we are going to talk about that in a bit. we have developing news happening in colorado. the governor is about to talk about the epic flooding they have been dealing with there and how his helicopter stopped to rescue four people and their pets. we are going bring it to you live once it happened. in the meantime, comedian bill cosby's message to young black men on the importance of going to college. >> just go and sit there and understand you are going to get an education. that's what happened to me. at age 19 1/2, i just knew that i didn't want to do certain things. it wasn't what they were doing to me, it's what i wasn't doing. >> wise words from a man who should be heard. more next. license and registration please.
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more now with my conversation with bill cosby. he attended a commemoration of the 1963 church bombing in birmingham, alabama. it killed four little girls. before the event, he and i talked. i asked him about our country's next generation of leaders. itis a conversation we had been having with a president of miles college in alabama seated next to him. take a listen. i want to ask you, i have been talking and thinking after the 50th anniversary of the march on washington, the anniversary of four little girls x about leaders. especially african-american leaders, who are they? do we need one? do we need leaders in the same sense we needed a dr. king or ruston or a james baldwin? where do you see our leadership
now? >> i think it has to come from the same place. i think it has to come from the universities. i think, women, strongly because when you see 70% in research that says they are the leaders of the household, what we need is for people to realize i want to raise my kid. i want to go back and get my three kids. i want to take on that responsibility. i want to love my children. you know, one of the great pictures that, i mean reaches me because it is special is to go to, for instance, the essence affair and walking around to
see, yeah, to see a black male with his child on the shoulders and holding. that means something. i'm sure this president of the college knows what it feels like to welcome in the fresh people in and look out and see father serious about it. because it's -- it's not difficult to do and you don't have to just jump up one day. you can ease yourself into it. of course we have great things happening. graduates of the naval academy, the military academy, graduates of all kinds of moorhouse and miles and colleges like that. >> harvard and yale. >> by the same token, we need those people, go to community
college. okay, you backed up and didn't do well. you quit school but now you find you need that high school credential. go to the community college. get yourself there. put your body in line. you are going -- i don't like the phrase reinvent yourself. you were never invented. go. sit there and understand you are going to get an education because that's what happened to me. at age 19 1/2, i knew i didn't want to do certain things. itis not what they weren't doing to me, it's what i wasn't doing. it's a very simple thing. next, i ask him about problems with the juvenile justice system and about those who criticize him. >> the reason i'm giving you
derailed. he's got some strong words, very strong words for those supposed to help get those young men back on the right path. listen now. >> our criminal justice system in terms of our teenage people and some cities, if you could walk in and look at how many people are in charge of a kid whose coming in with the suit on and whatever that kid has done or they said he's done, how many people, if they did the job correctly on the chain could make the parents of the child feel better, could maybe the kid won't understand it, but the explanations are there. we have places that kids go to, boys, juvenile, and the director said to me, of this one place, you know, 70% of our kids are
medicated. okay. give me eight months of taking medication to keep you subdued. by the way, i told these young fellows who were incarcerated, if you don't feel right, if you want to talk to somebody, go see the psychologist. afterwards, this woman came to me and said thanks a lot. there will be a line all the way around my -- for people to see me. i didn't say anything to her. my point is, if you drug these people and then you release them and there's no prescription for them to get to take to do the same thing and they go back to the same place. now about this time, this is when you hear the no grows jump up and say why don't you talk about the good things? because the good things happen to be taking care of themselves pretty well. we are trying to help those
genius', those not genius', people who deserve, because they are human beings on this earth, in the united states of america, we are trying to get them in a position so they will understand and want to. >> why is it so hard for some people to get that message, to hear that message, to receive that message and without lashing out? >> well, it's because they feel, i think, i think they feel embarrassed. i think they feel embarrassed about, you know, sammy davis said something to me one day. we were in playing in a routine and i told him i knew something. he said no you don't. i said yes, i do. i said it. he said no, that's not the way it goes. i said the same thing louder. he said, bill, saying it loud don't make it right. and so, every loud voice you
hear yelling about something and saying well you just -- you lost us. you became a millionaire. the reason why i'm giving you this information is because i was living in the projects. i was not taking care of myself in terms of managing my education and once the door opened and i saw quote, unquote, the light, i started to become very successful. >> hmm. very wise words from dr. bill cosby. as you know, he gets a lot of criticism and a lot of pushback for that. you are sitting watching. >> i think it's right about people needing to take responsibility. i hope people listen to him. i hope younger people understand what a huge pioneer he was. i mean, when i was a kid living in the south and he started to appear on tv, the business of race relationships was about fear, condescending, hatred and
he came along and opened up a whole new way of looking at race relationships. i think he should be given a lot of credit. >> his words carry meaning. >> absolutely, look, i think the word pioneer is exactly right. he went through doors that were locked and closed for african-americans in this country. his message of individual responsibility, don't lean on the state. don't expect this government or that government. this message of individual responsibility is important. >> it is important. this isn't talking ending racism or discrimination. itis yourself. the message that everyone is responsible for themselves. >> he wants to make sure people understand who is responsible for moving forward in this society. >> thank you guys. we are going to talk about today's diplomatic deal on syria. the possibility of a u.s. air
we have been talking about syria, chemical weapons and turning them over to an international community. of course russia is the key here, with the help of russia. rick francona is joining me and christopher dickey. in los angeles, howard bragman, a veteran pr representative from reputation.com. we have been talking about the president. i specifically wanted you to talk about this. the president tried news conferences, speeches, he sent his team to capitol hill to get americans and congress behind a military strike. they fell completely flat. was it the message or the
messenger, howard? >> i think he didn't care about the message. i have talked to people very close to the president. the president had one goal here. that was to do the right thing morally. the right thing morally, he felt, was to draw the line in the sand and try to get congress behind him. we came out of an administration better with spin than execution and collaboration. obama spoke softly, carried a stick as the american military might. it looks like he's winning right now. it looks like he's going to get what he wants and it's a very important historical teaching moment that you don't have to blow up things to move the needle diplomatically. he's a lame duck president. congress people have to be elected every two years. the american people didn't want him. their choice was unpopular. he's not playing history, he's playing morality right now. he played it well. >> you think he's lame duck this
early on? >> i think -- i think the minute you are reelected, you are a lame duck in the second term historically. this could go down as a good moment for him if it plays out the way it's unfolding. >> stand by. i have a lot of things i want to get in with you. jay carney is trying to stand-up for president obama criticized for being dismissive. listen. >> the american people, at least in my assessment appreciate commander and chief who takes in new information and doesn't, you know, celebrate decisiveness for the sake of decisiveness. >> so quickly, assess other things. does that remark explain the white house message problem? >> i don't think the white house was focused on message. i think the white house was focused on morality and doing the right thing.
that's part of the problem. i argue pr can be the lubrication that helps you get to the promise land and get to that decision. if the american people had gone along a little more, you know, it was a very good speech he gave. i think more people watched miley dancing on the vmas than watched the president's speech the other night. it's hard to get people's attention right now. >> looking off because of my panel here. everyone is agreeing saying yes. you agree, you agree? it's true. there's a poll that says 73 or 79% of people were more interested in miley cyrus than they were what was happening in syria. it translates to television ratings and news ratings as well. real quickly here, howard, you look like you are in your 20s. you have been doing this a long time and watching political issues. could anyone have sold america's idea or military strike, ronald reagan, fdr, anybody?
>> i think at this point in history with the hangover from the bush administration and the war in iraq, i don't think they could have right now. i have been traveling the country in new york and florida for the last week. i have done my own listening tour. it's every argument you would understand. the money can be better sent at home. if assad leaves, who is left. are we going to make things worse for ourselves and israel? people don't have the stomach for this kind of american intervention right now. obama said we are not the policemen of the world, but, in fact, he is saying we are the policemen of the world, if nobody else will do it. >> mr. howard bragman, thank you for being here. see you soon, howard. the other gentlemen, stick with me. i want to continue the discussion asking about the syrian government and the rebels beyond the use of chemical weapons. what is the u.s. going to do about that? should we do anything?
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have impact on behavior like that? >> no, i don't think so. this is nothing new. this has been going on for a long time. prior to going after the hospitals, his favorite targets were bakeries. he knew he could starve the people and a lot of people congregate at those facilities. there's no honor in how bashar is fighting this. it's going to continue and it's going to get worse. we have seen the violence tick up since the last three or four days. >> yeah, seemed to tick up a lot. what does this deal say to the syrian opposition? are they being forgeten? >> we are betraying them big time. we are walking away from them. we have not armed them. they depended on us. we questioned their honor. we considered them to be, if you will, members of al qaeda or close to al qaeda. these people were depending on an american strike.
they were hoping to see power and decision from washington and they were betrayed. >> how do you scour a country for chemical weapons? >> it's difficult to do. if bashar al assad has them in his control, it's not as difficult as it sounds. one of the most important things that came out of the announcement today is the obvious coordination between russian and american intelligence on the question of the chemical arsenal. basically, they agreed, this is what he's got and where it is. >> i want to ask this question by someone who is familiar in the ways of washington. they sent me an e-mail saying president obama knew what he was doing. he didn't announce he was going to pakistan to get bin laden, he did it. he knew exactly what he was doing. what do you say, colonel? >> wishful thinking.
i hope the president is that smart, but i don't get the feeling it was played out that way. earlier great points were made, but when the president was making a case for military strike, many of us, and i talked to a lot of military colleagues, we didn't feel that sense of outrage. you know, many of us are, we find the use of chemical weapons o important and we thought the red line had been crossed. we didn't get the sense the president really felt as strongly as he should have. >> yeah. nod the head, yes or no, did he know what he was doing? >> no, look, chemical weapons were used august 21st. that's one day. one day in a chronicle of a war that lasted now for 30 months. to isolate the use of chemical weapons from all the brutalities and crimes against humanity committed by bashar does something. >> i have to run. if you can do it in two seconds. >> if he kept chemical weapons,
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colorado governor's arrived now briefing the public. >> estimates about what that's going to take in terms of time and in terms of money. i did talk to the secretary of transportation this morning. secretary fox called me and was adamant that the $5 million they released yesterday was just the beginning and they are 100% to making sure colorado, again, rebuilds better than we were before and we do it as fast as humanly possible. they gave a full commitment of the federal government to work with the state and county. first responders continue to
marvel at the quality of first responders, the talent and also the level of leadership that we have seen from county commissioners and mayors up and down this flood of 2013. i also want to just give a shout out to the national guard, you know, major todd is flying that blackhawk and he dropped us down. it was like he would have gotten inside four acorns in a parking space. we were landing on a piece of road that was completely washed out. i don't know how many cubic feet a second, but as high as i had seen in my life. we were three feet away from it. it's where we had to come down to pick these folks up. this is the result of what they call hats. high altitude army aviation. it's what we have in colorado. this kind of training for the entire nation takes place.
we couldn't have been happier than to have both of our u.s. sn senators with us to see how valuable that training is and the resources it gives us not just in war but times of tragedy. i want to turn it over to senior senator, mark udall and bennett. >> that is the governor of colorado giving an update and talking about his own rescue in a helicopter, rescuing four people, a dog and a cat on his way to this press conference as he is touring those devastated areas. it's amazing how they are being inundated there. thank you so much for joining us. the tenth annual style awards begins after a quick break. reamn corn chowder. i mean, look at it. so indulgent. did i tell you i am on the... [ both ] chicken pot pie diet! me too! [ male announcer ] so indulgent, you'll never believe they're light. 100-calorie progresso light soups.
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so you feel free. liberated. released. decongested. open for business. [ inhales, exhales ] [ male announcer ] powerful sinus relief from the #1 pharmacist recommended brand. sudafed. open up. hello, everyone. i'm michelle turner. welcome to the 2013 style awards in new york city. it is once again the epicenter of the fashion world. >> what does style mean to you? >> style is a way of life. >> it gos beyond what you are wearing. >> how you feel on the inside. >> self-expression. >> jeans and t-shirt. >> great pair of sexy heels. sexy laund ray. >> celebration. >> if you walk in like you own the place, you have style. >> wouldn't be a style award without the red carpet. who better than to